We weren’t always like this, comfortable with this dark silence that had seeped into our shared lives.
You were standing by the door to our bedroom, looking at me with a big smile. I’d tried on several dresses but none seemed to match the olive green shoes you’d spent so much on for tonight.
I was unsettled, checking the wardrobe once more. This was a special occasion for us and I really wanted to wear those shoes.
I wanted to see that glint in your eyes every time you introduced me to your colleagues. I wanted your eyes to dart to me hauntingly, even as you pretended to listen to speeches. I wanted to be in your thoughts, carefully moulded into your smiles.
And so, when you finally told me I could wear some other shoes, I graciously found a matching dress for the olive green shoes. We had a good laugh about it.
That was the night everything shifted. Things acquired new forms, new meanings, and tastes; had new faces.
It wasn’t long before eyes started to look at us slantingly. Where was the child?
It was then I began to see the hollow stares, the plastered smiles, the recited expressions of affection. The forgotten, shady looks on faces when they thought I wasn’t looking.
From then on, there was a certain stiffness to our conversations. Bridges we’d burned rose from the ashes. Shadows shared our hugs.
I still have conversations with the former us in my head. And sometimes, there’s a child voice also.